After the Gentle Poet Kobayashi Issa

Kobayashi Issa
Translated by Robert Hass


New Year’s morning—
everything is in blossom!
I feel about average.

A huge frog and I
staring at each other,
neither of us moves.

This moth saw brightness
in a woman’s chamber—
burned to a crisp.

Asked how old he was
the boy in the new kimono
stretched out all five fingers.

Blossoms at night,
like people
moved by music.

Napped half the day;
no one
punished me!

Fiftieth birthday:
From now on,
It’s all clear profit,
every sky.

Don’t worry, spiders,
I keep house
casually.

These sea slugs,
they just don’t seem
Japanese.



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Source. About the poet. Photo

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